National Story Telling Week 2016

Get ready for National Story Telling Week 2016, from 30 January to 6 February.

The event, co-ordinated by the Society for Story Telling, and celebrated across the country, brings together tellers and listeners, professionals and enthusiasts, to celebrate the power of the spoken story as a traditional craft, as a modern form of entertainment and as a powerful educational and therapeutic tool.

Stories span years, generations and interests, and everyone has their own story to tell. Whether you like to get creative and come up with your own, or use the wonderful words written already, why not make some special time during the week to share stories with each other?

Here are 3 reasons why reading to children is good for everyone:

  • Language helps us understand ourselves and make sense of the world. Books and stories help children develop language and thinking.
  • Children who enjoy reading are likely to become confident learners. It can become a favourite hobby they go on to enjoy all their lives.
  • Stories can help children deal with the problems and fears they face in everyday life.

Reading aloud isn’t just for kids, adults have a lot to gain too. Reading aloud requires all of your focus, allowing what you read to penetrate not only your eyes but also your ears. Not only will it reinforce the material you’re reading, but you’ll be less likely to become distracted, and you’ll engage your imagination in a whole new way.

Share your favourite read aloud stories with us on Twitter and Facebook. Did you know, 6th February is National Libraries Day? Come along and celebrate with us, we’ve got something for everyone to do, and plenty of stories to get you started.

Here are some of our favourite stories to read aloud , these are all available in Hampshire Libraries or from our eBook service.

For the younger ones…

The little prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language. Both moral fable and spiritual autobiography, it is the story of a little boy who lives alone on a planet not much bigger than himself, who leaves it to travel round the universe.

Where the wild things are, Maurice Sendak

One night Max puts on his wolf suit and makes mischief of one kind and another, so his mother calls him ‘Wild Thing’ and sends him to bed without his supper. That night a forest begins to grow in Max’s room and an ocean rushes by with a boat to take Max to the place where the wild things are. Max tames the wild things and crowns himself as their king, and then the wild rumpus begins. But when Max has sent the monsters to bed, and everything is quiet, he starts to feel lonely and realises it is time to sail home to the place where someone loves him best of all.

Matilda, Roald Dahl (also available as an eBook)

Matilda’s parents have called her some terrible things, but the truth is she’s a genius and they’re the stupid ones. Underestimating Matilda proves to be a big mistake as they, along with her spiteful headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, soon find out when Matilda discovers she has a very special power.

The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling  (also available as an eBook)

When Father Wolf and Mother Wolf find a man-cub in the jungle, they anger the greedy tiger Shere Khan by refusing to surrender it to his jaws, and rear the child as their own. But when little Mowgli grows up, the pack can no longer defend him. He must learn the secret of fire, and with the help of his friends Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear, he faces his nemesis at last.

The indoor pirates, Jeremy Strong (also available as an eBook)

Captain Blackpatch and his crew are as fierce as can be, but they have one weakness, they hate the sea. So when Captain inherits 25 Dolphin St., they decide to move to dry land, but soon discover that life ashore as a pirate isn’t easy either.

The magician’s nephew, C. S. Lewis (also available as an eBook)

Narnia: where Talking Beasts walk , where a witch waits, where a new world is about to be born. On a daring quest to save a life, two friends are hurled into another world, where an evil sorceress seeks to enslave them. But then the lion Aslan’s song weaves itself into the fabric of a new land, a land that will be known as Narnia. And in Narnia, all things are possible.

 Jessica’s ghost, Andrew Norriss (also available as an eBook)

Francis has never had a friend like Jessica before. She’s the first person he’s ever met who can make him feel completely himself. Jessica has never had a friend like Francis before. Not just because he’s someone to laugh with every day – but because he’s the first person who has ever been able to see her . . .

For the older ones…

All the light we cannot see, Anthony Doerr (also available as an eBook)

Marie-Laure has been blind since the age of six. Her father builds a perfect miniature of their Paris neighbourhood so she can memorise it by touch and navigate her way home. But when the Nazis invade, they flee with a dangerous secret. Werner is a German orphan, destined to labour in the same mine that claimed his father’s life, until he discovers a knack for engineering. His talent wins him a place at a brutal military academy, but his way out of obscurity is built on suffering. At the same time, far away in a walled city by the sea, an old man discovers new worlds without ever setting foot outside his home. But all around him, impending danger closes in.

Holes, Louis Sachar (also available as an eBook)

When Stanley Yelnats is sent to Camp Green Lake Juvenile Correctional Facility for a crime he did not commit, life becomes much more of a challenge. First of all he has to dig a hole (as deep as a man) a day in the baking Texas heat, looking for who knows what. Then he has to avoid cruel Mr Sir and the menacing warden. Will Stanley survive in this hostile environment?

Looking for Alaska, John Green

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words – and tired of his safe, boring and rather lonely life at home. He leaves for boarding school filled with cautious optimism. His roommate there introduces him to Alaska Young and he develops a crush on her.

Here lies Arthur, Philip Reeve

Gwyna is just a small girl, a mouse, when she is bound in service to Myrddin the bard – a traveller and spinner of tales. But Myrdin transfroms her – into a lady goddess, a boy warrior, and a spy. Without Gwyna, Myrddin will not be able to work the most glorious transformation of all – and turn the leader of a raggle-tagglear-band into King Arthur, the greatest hero of all time.

We were liars, E. Lockhart (also available as an eBook)

We are the Liars. We are beautiful, privileged and live a life of carefree luxury. We are cracked and broken. A story of love and romance. A tale of tragedy. Which are lies? Which is truth? A beautiful and distinguished family. A private island. A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy. A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive. A revolution. An accident. A secret. Lies upon lies. True love. The truth.

 

The Catcher in the rye by John Salinger

About the book

A 16-year-old American boy relates in his own words the experiences he goes through at school and after, and reveals with unusual candour the workings of his own mind. What does a boy in his teens think and feel about his teachers, parents, friends and acquaintances?

Reviewed by Hawkley Book Group

An intriguing description of two days in the life of a 16 year old boy. A crisis in his life told from his point of view and in retrospect. The reader may empathise with the character or find him really irritating. Timeless teenage angst.

Star rating: ***

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Bad blood by Lorna Sage

book cover

About the book

Bad Blood brings alive in vivid detail a time – the 40s and 50s – not so distant from us but now disappeared. It tells the story of a childhood and adolescence dominated by an array of family members.

Reviewed by New Forest/Waterside U3A theatre and literature group

The group rated this book highly for its readability and regretted that we are unlikely to have the joy of more of Lorna Sage’s writing. While the description of vicarage life and the atrociousness of village schooling shocked some of the group a “round the table” expose of everyone’s schooldays settled the authenticity of the writing. That Lorna broke the mould was clear but our discussion revealed in how many ways and to what extent, fuelled by her anger, she drew from disadvantage a positive outcome.

Star rating: ***

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That Old Ace in the hole by Annie Proulx

About the book

Folks in the Texas panhandle do not like hog farms. But Bob Dollar is determined to see his new job as hog site scout for Global Pork Rind through to the end. However he is forced to face the idiosyncratic inhabitants of Woolybucket and to question his own notions of loyalty and home.

Reviewed by U3A Group 1

Enjoyed by all. Wonderful evocation of the deep South – people and places and a fascinating story.

Star rating: ****

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The Shipping news by Annie Proulx

book cover

About the book

A darkly comic portrait of human life and possibility. Quoyle is a hopeless hack journalist working in New York. When his two-timing wife dies in a road accident, he retreats to his ancestral home on the coast of Newfoundland where he must confront the unpredictable forces of nature and society.

Reviewed by Queen Mary’s College Library Reading Group

We liked this book very much although some found it hard going at the beginning. It’s a large and complex novel incorporating themes of regeneration, redemption and the power of love to change people’s lives. The characters are diverse and most of the action is played out against a bleak Newfoundland, dominated by the sea. Some felt the role of the women characters to be rather passive but there are also some strong women like Agnis Hamm with her ability to overcome all kinds of hardships. There’s lots of humour in the novel too and much to think about and discuss.

Star rating: not given

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Lemon sherbet and dolly blue by Lynn Knight

About the book

It is said that you can’t choose your relatives but some of Lynn Knight‘s family did. Three generations were adopted, and adopted in three distinct ways. ‘Lemon Sherbet and Dolly Blue’ tells their extraordinary story.

Reviewed by Bridewell Beauties

Told through the eyes of her family and gives a very good account of social history. Perhaps a little too long?

Star rating: ***

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The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

About the book

When Harold Fry nips out one morning to post a letter, leaving his wife hoovering upstairs, he has no idea that he is about to walk from one end of the country to the other. He has no hiking boots or map, let alone a compass, waterproof or mobile phone. All he knows is that he must keep walking. To save someone else’s life

Reviewed by Enjoying Books

We enjoyed it enormously; it was a pleasure to pick up, it had humour, deeply emotional yet life affirming. Please read! Hidden depths…gorgeous.

Star rating: ****

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Across the bridge by Morag Joss

About the book

When a bridge collapses in the Highlands of Scotland, dozens of people vanish into the river below. A car hired by a woman tourist was filmed pulling onto the bridge moments before it fell. Now numbered among the missing, the woman seized her chance to start her life over.

Reviewed by Fareham Library 5:30

We liked the overall plot and the description of the setting but we weren’t sure if the book was about how and why people go missing or a thriller. There was disagreement on the ending – some weren’t sure what happened, others disliked the ending as it didn’t resolve the characters.

Star rating: ***

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The Queen of new beginnings by Erica James

About the book

Clayton Miller’s life is a mess. His career as one of the country’s best comedy script writers has stalled and his long-term term girlfriend has left him. Just when he thinks his life can’t get any worse, he commits a spectacularly public fall from grace and is banished to the middle of nowhere until the dust settles.

Reviewed by Bookends, Hayling Island

A fairly predictable, light hearted read.

Star rating: ***

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The Good father by Noah Hawley

book cover

About the book

America is rocked by the shooting of a presidential candidate and the young man arrested for the crime is Danny, the child of Dr Paul Allen’s first marriage – news which sends the family down a harrowing path of no return. Even if he is the only man in the world who believes in Danny’s innocence, Paul is determined to prove it.

Reviewed by Everton Reading Group

A well planned, well written but sad tale. This really pulled at the emotions and empathy for Dr Paul Allen and his experiences. It held the readers’ attention to the very end. A powerful book! For once we can believe what it said on the dust cover!

Star rating: ****

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